I always wanted to be a youngish mum. I was lucky that I met Carl when I was young, we got together when I was 19 and were married just before my 23rd birthday. 18 months later, Mabel was born. For some reason I have always said that I wanted to have my first baby before I turned 25 and I wanted to be finished having babies by the time I was 30. I don’t know why really, 30 just felt like a good cut off point to say right that’s enough now, let’s move on to the next stage of life. So I had Mabel when I was 24, a second baby was always the plan, so Greta was born 20 months later when I was 26 and although a third baby was most likely always going to happen, Ernie came along a bit quicker than we’d planned when I was 28.
So here I am now, 28 years old and fast approaching 29, with three children under five. Three children that I love with all my heart and make me so incredibly happy, but three children that cause me endless amounts of stress and worry, three children that occupy my every waking minute and three children that give me many sleepless nights. So why do I sometimes wonder if I can squeeze another one in before I turn 30?
I want another baby, I think I’ll always want another baby. I don’t know if the feeling of wanting to have more babies will ever leave me. Will I always get this slight pang of jealousy when someone announces their pregnancy or that their baby has arrived safely into this world? Will I always wonder what my youngest would be like as a big brother, or fantasise about what I would call a fourth child? (Pearl or Rupert incase you’re wondering). Is it something to do with my hormones? I’m not sure that it is to be honest, I think I’m just a baby person. I love babies, I’m good at babies. Babies need to be fed and cuddled and rocked and then fed some more and then cuddled some more…..and that is absolutely fine by me, I can do that easy.
But it’s not so easy to give a baby all of the attention that they need when you have other little people to worry about too. Suddenly there’s a whole lot more mess to clean up, mountains of clothes to wash and dry, meals that need to be cooked at certain times and some kind of entertainment that needs to be provided. If I was the sort of person who put their baby into a routine early on then it would probably be a lot easier, but I’m just not that mum, I’m firmly on the just go with it and ride it out side of the fence and I can’t see that changing.
When Mabel was born I was perfectly happy to give up everything, put my life completely on hold for 6 months or so, so that I could be everything she needed, 24/7. I was up all night with her so I slept when she slept, grabbed whatever food I could until Carl came home to cook for us and generally lived in leggings and sick stained t shirts with my hair shoved up on top of my head and only left the house when I wanted to. I didn’t mind, in fact I loved it, I’m just a baby person I guess. But I can’t put my life on hold for Ernie, it’s not only me I need to think about anymore.
No doubt that Babywearing helps me massively, I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t pop Ernie up on my back for a little sleep. He’s happy and settled with his cheek pressed against my neck (dribbling down my back) and smelling my hair (it just smells like his own vomit but he seems to like it), and I can get on with a few jobs, play with the girls, give them cuddles, make some lunch. It’s a massive help, but I can’t do everything I need to with him up there and towards the end of a two hour nap I can definitely feel his weight on my shoulders.
There’s no getting around it, babies take up a lot of your time. And the thing is, as much as I love babies, I also love cooking a lovely meal for my family, sitting down to play a game with my 4 year old, and getting the paints out for my 2 year old. And it’s not that I can’t do all of those things with a baby in tow, I mean sometimes I can’t, but I will keep trying every day and sometimes we get it right, but it’s always a bit more stressful with a baby who could wake up any minute and want a feed, or go from happily playing to tired and screaming in the blink of an eye.
And maybe I don’t want my life to be stressful anymore, maybe I just want to enjoy my three children and cling on to the fact that things are only going to get easier every day from here on in. In the past, every time my baby has got to around the 1 year mark and things have started to get more manageable, I have got pregnant again and gone back to square one in a way. It’s like as soon as you’ve got the hang of juggling, someone chucks another ball at you. But I think maybe my limit is three balls.
Maybe I’ll never be ‘done’ with having babies, but is my family complete? I’m almost certain that three children is the number that we should stick at. Life feels like we are just teetering on the edge of manageable, and as much as I love the chaos and fun that comes with having a little tribe of children, the sight control freak side of me says ‘enough is enough’. Even so, I think whenever I see a family with four children I’ll always wonder, what if I had been braver?
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